Years later Georgia, Louisville reschedule home-and-home series

Caption
Georgia Bulldogs' future non-conference opponents.

ATHENS — Twenty-one years after they were originally scheduled to play a home-and-home series, Georgia and Louisville will finally meet on their respective football fields in 2026 and ‘27.

UGA announced Wednesday a deal in which Georgia will play at Louisville on Sept. 19, 2026, and the Bulldogs will host the return game on Sept. 18, 2027, at Sanford Stadium.

Georgia and Louisville have only met once previously in football. That was the 2014 Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., a 37-14 Bulldogs victory.

The two schools actually brokered a deal in 2005 to play a home-and-home series in 2011 and ‘12. But Greg McGarity, in one of his first major moves as the Bulldogs’ new athletic director, worked with the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game and ESPN to get out of that contract. McGarity didn’t feel that a Power 5 program the magnitude of Georgia should be playing on the road against Louisville — then a member of the Big East. More importantly, though, he wanted to get the Bulldogs into the high-profile kickoff game in Atlanta.

To do so, ESPN and Peach Bowl Inc., which organizes the Kickoff Game, stepped up to pay the $500,000 termination fee for Georgia in its game contract with Louisville. The Bulldogs then received $1.7 million to play Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome.

“It was more of an opportunity to play in the big game in Atlanta against a program like Boise State, which was a national power at the time,” McGarity said.

Wearing alternative uniforms specially made for them by Nike — infamously called the Power Ranger uniforms — the 19th-ranked Bulldogs lost to No. 5 Boise State 35-21.

Tom Jurich, Louisville’s athletic director at the time, expressed disappointment in Georgia’s decision. With the help of ESPN, the Cardinals ended up getting North Carolina to the fill the void on their schedule.

Meanwhile, Georgia played Buffalo to open the 2012 season. That game saw a freshman named Todd Gurley make his college debut by returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

The latest deal to play Louisville comes at a time when the Bulldogs, like most Power 5 programs, are trying beef up their schedules with as many quality games as possible. In the age of the College Football Playoff — which may or may not expand — strength of schedule is expected to become an increasingly important factor for being included.

That philosophy is reflected in Georgia’s football scheduling going forward. The Bulldogs will open this season against Clemson in Charlotte in what’s expected to be a Top 5 matchup. Then UGA will play three non-conference Power 5 opponents plus eight SEC teams each year from 2026-31.

Louisville is now a member of the ACC. After parting ways with Bobby Petrino, the Cardinals are in their second season under coach Scott Satterfield. They were 4-7 (3-7 ACC) last year.

GEORGIA FOOTBALL VS. POWER 5

2021 – Clemson opener in Charlotte

2022 – Oregon in Kickoff game in Atlanta

2023 – at Oklahoma

2024 – Clemson in kickoff game in Atlanta

2025 – at UCLA

2026 – UCLA in Athens; at Louisville

2027 – at FSU; Louisville in Athens

2028 – FSU in Athens; at Texas

2029 – at Clemson; Texas in Athens

2030 – Clemson in Athens; Ohio State in Athens

2031 – Oklahoma in Athens; at Ohio State

2032 – Clemson in Athens

2033 – at Clemson